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Defeating double data entry

Defeating double data entry.

It’s hard to believe in this time of ACH transfers and bookkeeping automation that double data entry exists in accounting efforts.

Yet, here we are.

Culprits such as paper and a lack of technology integrations drive the need for manually entering information into one system—and then accessing another system to type in that same data.

If your company relies on paper for accounting activities, prepare for extra data entry. Each payment—whether AP or AR—must be recorded. Often, this data is inputted into software and apps such as QuickBooks™ or Xero™ to manage financial performance for accounting professionals.

But it doesn’t stop there.

For example—expense reports are often paper-based. Employees must fill out a spreadsheet with their expenses from multiple resources (checking accounts, credit card accounts, etc.) and submit them for reimbursement. Accounting must review and reconcile each expense report and submit it for payment. Then, someone must enter the resulting information into the accounting software.

In this model, not only are employees entering data into reports for reimbursement, the accounting department duplicates that effort with the accounting software. That’s a lot of wasted time.

Here’s another scenario—imagine your team uses an app for expense reports. Employees scan receipts and they automatically compile into a digital reimbursement report. Accounting gets the employees’ reports, processes them (maybe even prints them out) and then manually enters that information into the accounting software. Once more, even with technology involved, all parties participating in expense reports are inputting data. But, if the expense management solution integrated with the accounting software, then the double data entry is eliminated. The information will flow from one system to another automatically. But more on that later…

Let’s discuss why double data entry—or any data entry—is an evil that must be stopped.

1. Double data entry steals time.

A single drop of water isn’t a nuisance. But a downpour can flood a house.

Double data entry fits this model. The time it takes to duplicate efforts steals time. Maybe it’s just a check here or a time entry there. But compiled, the time builds swiftly and into meaningful hours.

2. It demands resources.

Data entry requires people. Do you hire out for data entry? Or perhaps you try to cram it into your responsibilities? Either way, you need warm bodies to complete double data entry and those individuals are paid for their contributions.

3. It yields inaccuracies.

Data entry is boring. I repeat: It’s boring.

This is especially true for double data entry. You go to one system, enter the info, save and close. Then move to the next system and repeat.

This repetition often results in inadvertent errors. A number may get transposed. A bill may be entered into one system but not the other. Or perhaps an entry is categorized incorrectly. Any of these errors—not to mention a compilation of these mistakes—can lead to massive road bumps in the company’s financial performance and reporting.

4. It negates timeliness.

Data entry doesn’t happen in real time. Generally, a pile adds up and then the data entry happens over the course of a couple hours or weeks.

The result is that important data isn’t entered into your system in a timely fashion. You’re always looking at numbers (and cashflow) that are outdated.

5. Ultimately, it distracts your company from its core business.

Inefficiencies such as double data entry distract from your business. You have employees in the trenches instead of contributing on a more meaningful level. In fact, you may be the one tied to a keyboard when you could be tackling new partnerships, adding new clients, or expanding operations.

How can you avoid accounting double data entry?

Two words: Integrated technologies.

Cloud-based technology has made data entry—especially double data entry—obsolete.

Consider this workflow for bill payment:

  • A vendor submits its bill to your company via a bill payment solution.
  • The bill automatically routes through an electronic, preset review and approval workflow.
  • The bill is approved and paid digitally via a vendor ACH, PayPal, credit cards or EFT.
  • The payment is noted in the bill payment system and the information automatically syncs with your accounting system.

Now imagine this same system applying to expense management.

  • Expenses come in through an expense management solution and are curated automatically into an expense report.
  • The expense report is reviewed electronically and approved for payment.
  • The information syncs with your bill payment solution and the approver can authorize a digital reimbursement payment.
  • That information syncs with your accounting software.

Not only is double data entry deleted, but all data entry can be scrapped. Information flows electronically between systems. Data is timely, making it much more efficient and accurate as a base for financial planning, reporting and decisions.

Are you ready to defeat double data entry for good?